The Naked Witch (1964)

Article #999 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-9-2003
Posting Date: 5-7-2004
Directed by Larry Buchanan
Featuring Libby Hall, Robert Short, Jo Maryman

A student working on a thesis about the history of German settlement in Texas stumbles across the legend of the Luckenbach witch. In his investigation, he accidentally revives the witch. He does not encounter Willie and Waylon and the boys.

Some thoughts on THE NAKED WITCH.

1) There are two versions of this movie out there. One is available on DVD and in color. The other is available on VHS and is in black and white. Though I should probably wait until I acquire the former, all I’ve got at this point is the latter, and that’s what I’m covering here. Under the circumstances, I really don’t think it’s fair to expect me to spend the extra bucks.

2) First, let me give you a walking tour of my experience of watching this movie. Though the tape only runs about an hour, it opens with three trailers. They are for the movies MONSTROSITY, BLOOD OF THE MAN BEAST (a.k.a. HOUSE OF THE BLACK DEATH), and MONSTER-A-GO-GO. I’ve seen all three of these movies, and they’re all at about the same level of quality of this one. This is not a good sign.

3) The movie then treats us to a ten minute documentary about the history of witches in the middle and dark ages, all done to the eerie music usually used in old-time spook show promos. By the time this sequence is through, I am roughly one-quarter a way through the tape. Not a good sign.

4) We have now reached the movie proper. It opens wth a quote from Shakespeare. Unfortunately, the quote prominently features the word “yawn”. Not a good sign.

5) The next thing I notice in the credits is that the movie was written, directed and edited by Larry Buchanan. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.

6) By the time we actually see the student entering the town where the allegedly scary incidents take place, the movie is one-third over.

7) This movie has at least one good quality about it; the backdrop of an old German community that serves as the setting for the movie is unusual and gives the movie an unexpected air of authenticity, even if the first interchange we hear between the student and one of the residents prominently uses the word “Weinerschnitzel”. So much for the good things about this movie.

8) If there’s any one thing I can say about the soundtrack, it’s that organists from the era of the silents could still find work as late as 1964.

9) Yes, the witch is naked. Don’t strain your eyes, though; you won’t be able to see past that strange bar that hovers across the middle of the screen during most of her cavorting.

10) As for the rest of the movie, imagine, if you will, the experience of watching a young, inexperienced Larry Buchanan at work before he mastered his craft. “Mastered”, by the way, is a relative term.

As a side note, I would like to point out that, by coincidence, there was another movie called THE NAKED WITCH made during the same year and with a very similar plot. That one was directed by Andy Milligan, and appears to be lost. Is this coincidence or something more sinister? I can’t say, but I will point out this is number 999 of this series of reviews, and if you turn that number upside down…

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